For those unaware, my 13 year old daughter Abigail has a mild obsession (if an obsession can be mild) with pandas. Her bed spread has pandas, she's slept with a panda her aunt gave her since she was born and has made us visit numerous zoos in the US with pandas. Well since we were coming back to China for Luke and already toured Beijing the last time, we decided to take a few days to adjust to the time zone while visiting the panda reserves. We flew into Chengdu yesterday from Hong Kong. We're staying at the JW Marriott in the center of the city. We walked around last night and found Tiafu Square (the center of Chengdu), the People's Park which reminds me of central park right in the middle of a busy city, and the Wide and Narrow Alleys which is just a walking area with restaurants and shops (and lots of street food and NO Steve, we didn't eat any of it).
This morning we headed out on a tour with a local guide named Victor to the Giant Panda Research Center at Dujiangyuan base. It was about an hour and half drive from our hotel. This is one of several reserves for Pandas in China. It is located right on the side of a mountain. We saw red pandas, giant pandas and a few baby pandas with their mother. Our tour guide used to work at a panda reserve so he was a wealth of knowledge. Here are a few shots of the pandas:
Best of all, Abigail got to sit and take pictures with a panda. She has dreamed of this moment for the last six months when I told her this could be a possibility. This girl babysat and worked hard to raise money so she could make the required donation to sit with a panda.
After spending a few hours with the pandas, we headed to Mt Qingcheng to hike to the top. It was worth it in the end but it was a rough climb to the top. Our guide said it was 20,000 steps and my legs feel every single one of them. This is the location of the beginning of Taoism. It is also the location where the movie Kung Fu Panda is set. The buildings were reproduced in the movie. Here's a few shots: